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Family Law

Brisbane’s only First Tier Family Law practice, Doyles Guide to the Australian Legal Profession, 2017

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HopgoodGanim’s Family Law team is Brisbane’s only first tier Family Law practice as published by Doyles Guide to the Legal Profession 2017.  In addition, our team has been ranked as a first tier firm by Doyles Guide in the Queensland market consecutively since 2012.

Our technical skills are highly sought and highly regarded among clients needing support through sensitive, high-net-wealth and complex settlements.  Our areas of advice cover the full spectrum of family and relationship law matters including:

Divorce and relationship breakdowns – including court and non-court based dispute resolution, Family Court appeals and reviews, de facto relationships, domestic violence, international disputes, same sex relationships, separation and spousal maintenance.

Property settlements – including advising high-net-wealth individuals and those with trusts, corporate entities and family businesses.

Alternative conflict resolution in family law matters – including arbitration, mediation and collaborative law.

Financial agreements – including structuring and planning prenuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Children’s issues – including adoption, child abuse, child support, grandparents’ rights and step-parents’ rights, interstate and international relocation, Hague Convention cases, parenting agreements, surrogacy, IVF and gender dysphoria cases.

International matters – including assisting Australian expatriates living abroad, cross-border pre-nuptial agreements and property settlements and liaison with leading international family law practices on in most jurisdictions with whom we enjoy close relationships.

Our large team includes a nationally accredited mediator, 4 Queensland Law Society Family Law Accredited Specialists, 4 professionals with formal training and experience in Collaborative Law and a Fellow and former Parliamentarian of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

We offer exceptional advice delivered with emotional intelligence to help our clients make the best decisions at the start and end of their significant relationships. In addition to our Family Law team, we offer the technical expertise of our corporate, tax, estate planning and property teams to assist our clients with the often complex and inter-related legal issues that impact their family and relationship matters. 

Our family law team has extensive experience negotiating agreements and settlements that deal with complex corporate structures and high-wealth portfolios with assets in excess of $100 million.

Our success has been evident across cases for clients in a variety of circumstances. Some examples include:

  • Randle & Randle: Advising the mother of a child with dual citizenship on separation and property settlement issues where international criminal and civil proceedings relating to a jointly owned business were also underway. We successfully advised the client in her application to have the child returned to reside with her on a final basis in the UAE (a non-Hague convention country) in the face of the father’s abduction of the child to Australia and his evidence that he had relocated to Australia and intended to live in Australia for the foreseeable future. While the proceedings were conducted under Australian law, orders were also made by the Family Court restraining the parties from pursuing further family law proceedings in the UAE, further protecting the child. We successfully obtained an order that the father pay a substantial portion of the costs our client incurred in the Australian proceedings, a rarity in parenting matters.
  • Barker v Barker: Acting for a client in a successful appeal after her husband failed to properly disclose his financial position and the details of a verbal offer of $2.3 million made for the purchase of a property previously valued at $1.65 million. The Court initially refused to set aside the consent orders the parties had entered into, but on appeal the Full Court ordered that they be set aside.
  • Eltham & York: Advising a respondent client who had brought the vast majority of a $6 million property pool into his marriage, where his wife asserted that she had substantially given up her own international finance career for the marriage. The husband’s hefty initial contributions, and assets acquired from his large income during the marriage, made up the bulk of the pool. The Court ordered that our client retain 80 percent of the property pool.
  • Blue & Blue: Acting for a client with complex corporate and trust structures in a property settlement involving substantial assets. Our client wished to have his loan application documentation containing a summary of legal advice he had received on the prospects of his case, as well as his business computer server containing commercially sensitive information, protected from disclosure to his wife. We successfully argued against disclosure of the loan documentation and business server, as the wife had previously been provided sufficient financial information.
  • SL & EHL: Representing a client in a case involving a property pool of $12 million, following a 35 year marriage. Our client’s husband, who earned around $600,000 - 800,000 per annum, argued that the bulk of the wealth had resulted from his acumen, skill and determination, and that he should be rewarded with 70 percent of the property. We successfully argued that our client’s role as a home maker and parent was a fulsome contribution to the family of four children, and that the husband’s limited role in family life should result in the wife receiving 52 percent of the net property pool, despite the husband’s assertions that he had made ‘special’ contributions to the pool.
  • BP & KS: Advising a client who, against our strong advice at a time when his businesses were ailing, had made a maintenance agreement under which his wife was to receive almost $1 million worth of property. After he suffered a stroke and his businesses entered into administration, his wife made an application to have all the shares in a trustee company transferred to her, with the aim of taking the assets of the trust to satisfy her entitlement under the maintenance agreement. We successfully argued that this would be unlawful, as the wife sought to be a trustee solely to amend the trust to obtain its assets for herself. This was contrary to the potential interests of other beneficiaries, would predetermine the exercise of a trustee’s discretion and would be contrary to the law as it relates to discretionary trusts.
  • Amerasinghe: Advising on proceedings where both parties, originally from Sri Lanka, had divided their time equally between Australia and Sri Lanka as business migrants for the previous three years. The husband commenced proceedings in Sri Lanka shortly before our client, his wife, commenced proceedings in Australia. We successfully argued that the husband had walked away from the Australian proceedings, that the matters were correctly heard and determined in Australia, and that the husband should pay the wife’s costs. The husband’s application for the matter to be heard in Sri Lanka was unsuccessful.
  • Weir: Acting in an appeal from a trial Judge’s decision to not take into account a substantial amount of money that our client’s husband had misappropriated from the family business, and to not make a costs order in favour of our client, despite evidence that $153,605 had not been accounted for and that the husband had ‘pocketed’ a substantial quantity of cash sales and had falsified the accounts to mask the discrepancies. On appeal, we successfully argued that once deliberate non-disclosure has been established, the Court should not be unduly cautious in making findings in favour of the innocent party. We also argued that the Court was entitled to make a property order on its best estimate of the amount that had been misappropriated by the husband. As a result, the wife received an adjustment to account for the misappropriated money, as well as a costs order against the husband for deliberately failing to fully disclose his finances.